Sulhan Selamat

A Day With Miguel Gutierrez, The Nomad Barber

The journey of Miguel Gutierrez, also known as The Nomad Barber, began when he decided to search for the origins and traditions of barbershops in various countries and regions around the world.

As an award-winning barber with many notable appearances in the fashion industry (the remarkable Ozwald Boeteng show at London Fashion Week being one of them), Miguel has styled many models, actors and other high-profile executives. He was also the key hair-stylist for Mirror’s single, “Broken by Silence”.

The Nomad Barber project consists of only one barber and one cameraman, both of whom aim to travel through five continents during twelve months. From Athens, where he learnt about Greek barbers – the first to bring classic barbering to Europe - to Turkey, and even the gateway to Middle East, Miguel dedicates this time to discovering the history and craft of barbering by talking to barbers and other individuals.

FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH YOU, CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO?

My name’s Miguel Gutierrez AKA The Nomad Barber. I’m currently travelling the world over 12 months and discovering the secrets from within the barbershops I visit.

HOW DID THIS PROJECT FOR THE NOMAD BARBER COME ABOUT?

It came about when I wanted to combine film, barbering and travel and the rest all just fell into place. I actually hired Mike off a TV and film website. He applied and I took him on. The rest is history.

HOW WAS THE INITIAL PROCESS LIKE IN TERMS OF PREPARATION?

For me it was a process of hard work and determination from 11 months before I left, until now. Mike was busy working in the film industry until we left so it was a solo mission up until that point.

HOW HAS THE EXPERIENCE DIFFERED FROM YOUR INITIAL EXPECTATIONS?

I didn’t have any specific expectations, I knew it’d be an adventure of a lifetime and it has proved to be right. The only thing that has surprised me is how people are so similar across the globe.

WHAT ABOUT BARBERING AND TRAVEL IGNITES A PASSION IN YOU?

Barbering was something I fell into at the age of 16 and have never looked back. The travelling part came later when I did some backpacking but combining the 2 is basically a dream job.

SOME BARBERS ACQUIRE EXPERIENCE BY RENTING A CHAIR IN A BARBERSHOP, AND OTHERS STOCK UP ON CREDENTIALS. WHAT OTHER ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AMATEUR BARBERS?

Others train for 10 years and perfect their skill and then move forward. It’s all specific to the person. My advice would just be doing what makes you happy.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE COMEBACK OF BARBERING AND LOOKING IMMACULATE?

It’s a massive revival and I think it’s great for the industry. Trends come and go though so I’ll still be here when it dies out. And I’ll still be doing the same thing.

IT’S DEFINITELY BEEN A GREAT PLEASURE HAVING YOU HERE IN SINGAPORE, COULD YOU TELL US A QUICK SUMMARY OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE NOMAD BARBER?

Next is 9 more countries and then home to open my first shop. I’m super excited. Singapore has been incredible, I’ve met some friends for life and the barber scene is on the up. Also Singaporean men know what they want, and that’s to look good.

This article originally published on 14th January 2014. Photograph and interview by Sulhan S.

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